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Tender Food Secures $11 Million Series A Funding to Innovate Plant-Based Meat Production

Courtesy of Tender Food
Courtesy of Tender Food

Tender Food, a food tech startup based in Massachusetts, has successfully closed over $11 million in Series A funding. This round was led by Rhapsody Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Lowercarbon Capital and Safar Partners, as well as new investors Claridge Partners and Nor’easter Ventures. The additional funding will enable Tender to advance its mission of transforming meat production and consumption.

Tender Food claims to distinguish itself from other plant-based meat companies through its unique technology. The company's patented method spins plant protein fibers akin to cotton candy to create structured cuts of meat. This process results in products that are realistic in texture, nutritious, affordable, and made from simple ingredients. Tender's offerings range from pulled pork and chicken breast to seafood and steak.

Christophe Chantre, co-founder and CEO of Tender Food, highlighted the challenges with current plant-based meat products, noting their high costs, unappealing taste, and limited variety. He emphasized the need for new technologies to improve taste, cost, and ingredient simplicity, which are crucial for wider adoption and carbon footprint reduction. Tender's technology aims to create healthier products that taste good and resemble animal meat while being cheaper to produce.

"Consumers are largely disappointed with plant-based meat products in the market—they’re too expensive, they don’t taste good, and are mostly limited to burgers and sausages with long, unrecognizable ingredient lists. We need new technologies to address these challenges and drive meaningful adoption in this category, which is crucial for decarbonizing our food system. Our technology allows us to create healthy products that taste great, have the structure and feel of animal meat and are much cheaper to produce.” said Christophe Chantre, co-founder and CEO.

Tender has already introduced its early products, including beef short rib, pulled pork, chicken breast, and crab, in various restaurants and universities in the Boston area. Notably, Tender partnered with Clover Food Lab in May 2024 to feature its products across all Clover locations. Chris Anderson, Senior Vice President at Clover, praised Tender's products for their taste and customer feedback, noting that 90% of their customers are meat-eaters.

“We're a popular vegetarian chain, so, as you can imagine, we try a lot of new plant-based products. Tender's stood out from the start—it's innovative, it's tasty, it's a great addition to our grain bowls and salads. And most importantly, we're hearing lots of positive feedback from our customers—90% of whom are meat-eaters!” said Chris Anderson, Senior Vice President at Clover.

Tender aims to become a key manufacturing platform for the plant-based meat industry, replacing traditional extrusion methods and reducing reliance on animal agriculture. The latest funding will support the company in scaling up production at its new facility, which aims to produce millions of pounds of product and further reduce production costs.

Chantre emphasized the importance of competing with animal meat on price for the industry's growth. Tender's technology addresses this challenge, promising significant industry expansion.

In a strategic move to bolster its leadership, Tender recently appointed Mike Messersmith, former North American President of Oatly, to its board of directors. Messersmith, who led Oatly’s US market growth, brings extensive industry experience to Tender as it accelerates commercialization.

With its innovative technology and strategic partnerships, Tender Food is positioned to make a significant impact on the plant-based meat industry. The recent funding will enable the company to scale production, reduce costs, and enhance its market presence, moving closer to its goal of revolutionizing meat production and consumption.


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